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Nov 29, 2021
Min Read

Automating Testing, Inspection, and Certification with Artificial Intelligence

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Enrique Garcia Perez
Principal Engineer
SUMMARY

The testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) market is estimated to be worth more than $325 billion globally by 2028. This projected increase in demand is driven by a variety of factors including corporate outsourcing of quality assurance work; globally integrated supply chains; and rising demand for the regulation of materials, products, systems and processes across sectors. As the TIC market continues to expand, companies operating in this space will need to take advantage of new technologies to successfully scale their business. This article explains the benefits of using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate testing, inspection, and certification services, as well as real-world applications of the technology.

What is testing, inspection, and certification?

The testing, inspection, and certification of equipment and infrastructure is essential to ensure that bridges, cargo planes, or any variety of industrial or high-tech equipment conform to standards and meet required certifications. Until recently, this required a great deal of manual intervention. Often the highest qualified people are needed to do the lowest value work in data entry, verification, and administration – inspectors must document model numbers and serial numbers by hand and manually transcribe that data and enter it into the system. From there, another person must then check the quality of that manual data entry.

AI is transforming the TIC industry

AI is disrupting business processes in virtually every industry, including testing, inspection, and certification. Automated inspection is being adopted to meet the needs of physically demanding inspection zones, and with tools like Super.AI, the analysis and reporting on thousands of data points are now being simplified by machine learning and the creation of analysis platforms with artificial intelligence.

Automation powered by AI has been tremendously beneficial for TIC service providers that have adopted it. McKinsey research found that AI-driven quality testing can increase productivity by up to 50% and defect detection rates by up to 90% compared to human inspection.

Eliminate tedious, repetitive, boring, and error prone tasks

The testing, inspection, and certification industry is a good example of how AI can eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks while ensuring higher levels of accuracy and efficiency. Leveraging tools built for automating TIC services, inspectors can simply snap photos of equipment during an inspection, then upload them for automated processing using AI.

It begins by defining the task that needs to be automated. An API makes it easy to send data automatically and integrate the automation into existing systems. Artificial intelligence learns continuously as new data and instructions are incorporated into an intelligent automation. The process can also be further enhanced by involving humans in the training and validation process. Humans “teach the system” while AI performs and learns the tasks, working together to provide increasingly more accurate or effective results. As the system learns, it becomes capable of higher levels of automation, reducing or eliminating the need for human involvement in a given task.

Real-world applications of AI in TIC services

The key to gaining an advantage from AI is turning innovation into real-world process improvement. That means applying AI tools where they make a real difference. What if you could remove the mundane from your work? What other value-added activities could you perform if you were freed from the responsibility of performing routine and repetitive tasks?

All TIC providers can benefit. Automated inspection and certification functions are applied in a variety of ways such as visual inspection, damage detection, and nameplate extraction. Just think about all the repetitive tasks you do all day—taking pictures, listening to calls, writing up reports, and transcribing serial numbers. What if you could let AI do this for you? For example, consider the following real-world applications of AI in TIC services:

  • Nameplate Extraction: Automatically extract information such as equipment serial numbers, model numbers, product expiration dates, and more from inspection images.
  • Automate Vehicle Damage: Automate vehicle damage detection and achieve a new standard of accuracy and speed at a lower cost.
  • General Damage Detection: Automate the detection of equipment or building damage such as surface cracks and water intrusion using inspection images.
  • Corrosion Monitoring and Detection: Automatically identify corrosion in boilers, pipes, storage tanks, vessels, and equipment using images and videos.
  • Product Defect Detection: Automate the detection of defects in products during manufacturing, such as cosmetic issues, poor welds, and assembly flaws using AI.
  • Seismic Risk Assessments: Automate the analysis of seismic hazards and assess structural vulnerabilities.
  • Fuel System Inspections: Automate the processing of fuel system inspections for wear, damage, or leaks.
  • Equipment Inventory: Automate asset tagging and management by quickly transcribing the tags into your format of choice.

Check out these additional TIC and AI resources:

There are far more applications of AI-powered automation in the testing, inspection, and certification space than this article has time to cover. The tools used in energy and mining firms, building and infrastructure projects, and companies in the automotive, insurance, agriculture, and transportation sectors find incredible efficiencies, cost savings, and innovations by adopting intelligent automation. Look for providers and partners with the right mix of capability, expertise, and vision to make the most of your efforts. For more information about AI and automation in the TIC space, check out the following resources:  

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